Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times; Katherine May
Riverhead Books & Penguin Audio - 2020
(combo - read/listen - audio 6 hours 54 min. read by Rebecca Lee - very good)
Wintering is a memoir / inspirational kind of book that came out the end of 2020 and has been on my TBR list since then. I finally decided to listen to the audio and there was so much that spoke to me that I had to download the eBook from the library and, I even ordered this print UK edition (look at that pretty cover art) because there is so much I wanted to highlight. This is one of those rather short books that just might become an annual winter read for me.
Katherine May's memoir begins in September when her husband fell ill and required an emergency appendectomy for a burst appendix; it almost ended his life. Following his gradual recovery, the author also started to feel unwell, just a feeling that something wasn't right. To ease her depression and anxiety she took time off from her position as a writing director and what happened soon after was a kind of transformation or celebration. It happened around the time on the winter solstice and a new way of thinking about and embracing winter evolved. Just as nature needs time to slow down and regenerate, so do us humans.
The author speaks of the new joy of cooking and creating, reading by candlelight on a cold winter evening wrapped in a favorite blanket or comforter. Is it so terrible to stay home, prepare tasty comfort foods, work on projects that were long ago set aside or, how about just sitting still and reflecting or our lives past and present?
This was a most interesting and reflective sort of book - the topics sometimes felt random or even scattered yet I found it to be very satisfying. I think many people could benefit by reading this book; it gives the reader much to think about and, may be even more important to individuals prone toward cold weather winter bouts of depression. It's time to change how many of us think about winter and the darker and more difficult paths we must walk from time to time.
The audio was provided by Penguin Audio at no charge in exchange for my unbiased review. The eBook was downloaded from my library and I've purchased the print edition which should arrive soon.)
Quotes - (just a few - there were so many more that I liked)
--“Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”
--“Winter is a season that invites me to rest well, and feel restored, when I am allowed to retreat to be quietly separate.”
---“In our winter, a transformation happened. We read and worked and problem-solved and found new solutions. We changed our focus away from pushing through with normal life and towards making a new one. When everything is broken, everything is also up for grabs. That’s the gift of winter: it’s irresistible. Change will happen in its wake, whether we like it or not. We can come out of it wearing a different coat.”
--“That is wintering. It is the active acceptance of sadness. It is the practice of allowing ourselves to feel it as a need. It is the courage to stare down the worst parts of our experience and to commit to healing them the best we can.”
--“Once we stop wishing it were summer, winter can be a glorious season when the world takes on a sparse beauty and even the pavements sparkle. It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order.”
Rating - 5/5 stars